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Customize Context Menus

New in Windows95 is the nearly global functionality of Context Menus. A Context Menu is what you see when you use the right mouse button to click on a file, folder, application title bar, or nearly any other object on the screen. Most of the time, this menu includes a list of actions appropriate to the object on which you've clicked. For file icons, the context menu depends upon the type of file. Usually, you'll see Copy, Paste, Delete, Rename, Open, and Properties (among others). You may have noticed that programs like MicroHelp PowerDesk and Norton Navigator are able to add their own items, extending the power of the context menu paradigm. Here's how to add you're own options to these menus:

For file icons:

  1. Select Options from the View menu in My Computer or Explorer, and click the File Types tab.
  2. Highlight the desired file type, and click Edit.
  3. Here, you can specify a new name for this file type (to be listed in the type column in Explorer), as well as the default icon for files of this type.
  4. In the box entitled Actions, is a list of the customizable context menu items. The bold item is the default (the action carried out when you double-click on a file of this type).
  5. You can add new items, change the default action, and remove unwanted items here. For new items, simply specify the program with which you want the action carried out.
  6. Lastly, you can check Enable QuickView to show the QuickView action in the context menu.

For folder icons:

  1. Run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE).
  2. Open My Computer\ HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ Directory\ shell.
  3. Select New from the Edit menu, and then select Key.
  4. Here, type the name of the new item you want added to the list, and press Enter.
  5. Highlight the new key, select New from the Edit menu, and then select Key again.
  6. Type command for the name of this new key, and press Enter.
  7. Double-click on the (default) value in the right pane, and type the full path and filename of the application you want associated with this entry.
  8. Close the Registry Editor when finished.

For desktop items:

  1. Use the same method as for folder icons (above).
  2. To find the registry location of the various desktop items, refer to Change the Icons of Desktop Items.


  • Clear Unwanted Entries from Explorer's New Menu
  • Customize My Computer
  • Print Out a Directory Listing
  • Use Quick View with Any File
  • Stop Netscape From Changing File Types